May 02

Dialogue: In the style of ...

[Photo: Toni Morrison by Damon Winter/The New York Times/Redux]
The best dialogue is consistent, believable, often understated. It seems effortless and natural, but remember that the writer has worked hard for that seamless delivery, avoiding the pitfalls of cliches, overwriting, assumptions, and incredulity (there is no way the character would have said that!)
Dialogue gives the reader a better understanding of the character. Internal dialogue is often used to provide insights and the backstory. It often expresses the characters' emotions. If done well, it will deeply affect the reader.

Think of a book you love and some memorable dialogue from that book. Create your own dialogue in the style of the writer. Don't overthink, just write. Have fun. And it might get you started on developing your own style. Here are a couple excerpts from books we love:

Judy Blume. "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret"

"Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I can't wait until two o'clock God. That's when our dance starts. Do you think I'll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome. And I'd love to dance with him... just once or twice. Thank you God."

Toni Morrison. "Beloved"

'Something funny 'bout that gal,' Paul D said, mostly to himself.

'Funny how?'

'Acts sick, sounds sick, but she don't look sick. Good skin, bright eyes and strong as a bull.'

'She's not strong. She can hardly walk without holding on to something.'

'That's what I mean. Can't walk, but I seen her pick up the rocker with one hand.'